I am trustee for an irrevocable trust what do the words health, education and maintenance mean? - Estate Planning Law Questions and Answers- LawQA.com

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I am trustee for an irrevocable trust what do the words health, education and maintenance mean?

I am wondering if I can pay my bills from the trust using the above mentioned language. My CPA feels that I cannot, I disagree with him.

Martinson & Beason, PC
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Unless you are also the beneficiary of the Trust, you cannot use the trust funds for your bills. I don't know why you would be Trustee and beneficiary of an Irrevocable Trust as that wouldn't serve any tax purposes. Maybe you did it for asset protection from creditors in which case you wouldn't want to pay your bills or it could be attached by creditors. But I would take the advice of your CPA.

Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 12/12/2012

Answer By Ian A. Taylor
The Taylor Law Office L.L.C.
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As trustee you may only be allowed a fee for your service as trustee. "health, education and maintenance," may only apply for payments made for the beneficiaries. This is only general advice as I do not have the trust documents and cannot provide a legal opinion as I am not your attorney. I recommend contacting one however. A trustee is personally liable for use of trust funds in an improper way.

Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 12/11/2012

Answer By Sally Hamblin

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Would have to know what the trusts states The language you indicated refers to what and whom. Some are limited to trustor, children, etc. What power language does it state.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/11/2012

Answer By Norman Lampton

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"This court concludes, consistent with Winkel, that settlor's intent was for respondent to receive her full support from the trust estate; that the gift of funds for respondent's health, education, support, or maintenance was an absolute gift to be paid respondent to provide for those needs" Lanagan v. Rorke, 182 S.W.3d 596 (Mo. App., 2005) The language has been often held and the authors of these documents intend that everything necessary for support is payable from the trust pursuant to this language. CAVEAT! This is based upon very sketchy information; you should not and cannot depended on this opinion.

Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 12/11/2012

Answer By Victor Varga

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If you are the trustee and not the beneficiary, then you cannot use any of the trust funds for your own purposes. Your CPA is correct.

Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 12/11/2012


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Your CPA is right. You are wrong. As a trustee, the funds and property you administer are for the benefit of the beneficiaries and not the trustee. If you misappropriate trust monies or property, you can not only be removed as trustee and forced to pay back what you took, but you can also be criminally prosecuted.

Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 12/11/2012

Answer By Edwin Fee

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Health, education, and maintenance are fairly broad categories. If you are a discretionary beneficiary of the trust, then some or all of your bills may fit within these categories.

Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 12/11/2012


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Trusts are created with a specific purpose in mind. The purpose of the trust is defined by the settler of the trust (the person created the trust). Trustees are persons that the settlor have entrusted with the property of the trust to hold for the benefit of the beneficiary. The beneficiary is the person or persons for whom the trust was created. If you are the beneficiary of the trust and the trustee, then yes you may utilize funds from the trust to pay your bills , however if you are solely the trustee, you cannot utilize trust money to pay your bills, unless the bill is related to the trust property.

Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 12/11/2012

James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
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As the trustee, you can use the income and principal of the trust for the beneficiaries. Are you also a beneficiary? If not, you cannot use the trust resources for yourself. If you are a beneficiary, you can use the resources under the conditions set forth in the trust. You have to read the entire trust since some provisions have cross provisions effects. So, you cannot just take one phrase out of context and use it as your guide. That said, "health, education and welfare" is a phrase taken from tax law as well as trust law.

Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 12/11/2012

Answer By John F Brennan
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
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I would have to review all of the language of the trust before I could form an opinion. You're welcome to call myself or another attorney and engage them to give you an opinion you can rely upon.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/10/2012

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